In a move aimed at increasing transparency in monitoring pollution and reducing paper work, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has introduced a system of auto renewal of permission for industries to operate.
MPCB grants consent for establishing, operating and expansion of industries for a limited period of time, usually five years. After the expiry of this consent, industries have to apply for fresh permission.
According to a circular issued by the MPCB on January 31, industries will now have to submit self-certification on compliance of environmental norms.
"There has been a rapid growth in the number of industries and due to the lack of adequate workforce, the time taken for renewal of consent usually exceeds the regulatory four month period. Exceeding this time frame implies that industries get 'deemed consent'. This new system will simplify the process of renewal, cut down on paper work and give time to vigilance officers to conduct checks," said Ajay Deshpande, joint director, pollution assessment monitoring and surveillance.
After the industries submit the self-certification, renewal details will be posted on the MPCB website within a week.
To ensure that industries do not submit inaccurate emission records during self-certification, MPCB vigilance officers will tally the records with their own readings collated during subsequent inspections that are to be carried out within a month of granting renewals.
The self-certification will have to be approved by the board of directors of the industry. This will only apply to those industries that have not increased their overall production capacity and pollution load.
"We have initially designed this for industries with a capital investment of Rs25 crore and above because these industries have a structured compliance system. It will also be easier for us (MPCB) to monitor their operations," Deshpande added.